By now you probably have heard that Andre Perry ran into a spot of bother with the police at the closing party for the Mission Creek Festival late Monday night. I could write a long post of how the whole sequence of events was petty small town cop bullshit, but that isn’t important. Andre is important, and here’s why:
Andre Perry came to Iowa City to pursue an MFA in Non-fiction Creative Writing. He works as a talent buyer at the Mill, writes and performs in Datagun and The Lonelyhearts. He co-founded the Mission Creek Midwest Festival, and continues to help make it a world-class event. Because of his good works, was hired as Executive Director of the Englert Theatre. If that wasn’t enough, he still finds time to write for Little Village. Every time I see him, he impresses me with his patience, intelligence, wit and sincerity. I’ve asked him “when the hell do you sleep?” and he just laughs.
I met Andre for the first time at the Mill one night a few years back and it was an unusual conversation. Andre seemed completely focused on finding out what I was about, fixing me with his steady stare. It’s rare to meet someone who has such a deep, sincere interest in everyone he meets, and doubly rare amongst creative people, who tend to be self-involved.
People in Iowa City know that it’s an awesome, place. But it could be even better if, as a community, we could focus more on working together. Andre is someone who just gets down to the business of making that happen. Without making a fuss or making it about him, Andre leads. You might know his name, but unless you’ve crossed paths personally you might not know that young guy in the T shirt and sports coat is the one who’s getting so many incredible things done. He’s taken the Englert to the next level as a vital community center for the Arts, and I foresee it only getting better.
So if you look up and read that article in the Press Citizen about Andre’s tribulations, I have to quote Chuck D from Public Enemy: Don’t believe the hype. Iowa City is lucky to have Andre Perry.